Back to Chapter 7
8)Kiss of fate and miracle confession
The Sapporo shows went smoothly for the most part. There were some small lighting and costume switch problems, Senga tripping over a cord and nearly spilling off the stage before Kitayama made a lucky grab, Tamamori hitting himself in the face with a drumstick, Fujigaya forgetting which of the half a dozen versions of their debut single they were doing and creating an impromptu solo when he started singing the last chorus in the middle of the dance break.
All of it was minor, though, and the audience response was enthusiastic. Even Yokoo seemed to think they were in good shape, and handed out a fair amount of praise.
“I know the last few months haven’t been easy for any of us,” Yokoo said after the second show on Saturday was finished. “But because of all your hard work, you’re showing a much stronger Sunshine to me and to the fans. The change is amazing.”
“No need for applause,” Kitayama said loftily, making Senga giggle and everyone else roll their eyes.
After the first night, Kitayama didn’t show any signs of changing rooms back with Senga, and Fujigaya didn’t even try to argue. It was convenient even, having one bed to make all mess, and then getting to crawl into the clean bed when they had exhausted each other and had regained enough of their senses to stumble from one bed to the other. Kitayama made Fujigaya forget about everything except for the heat of her skin and the strength of her hands, wearing him out so that he actually slept instead of lying awake and fretting over every song and step and moment of the concerts.
“Who are you and what have you done with the real Taipi?” Senga wanted to know when Fujigaya spent the hour before Sunday’s first show lazing about backstage rather than working himself up into a state. Rather than answer, Fujigaya made a grab for Senga and roughed up his hair until Senga whined for mercy.
It couldn’t last forever, though. As soon as they were back home, Fujigaya put his foot down again with Kitayama, trying his best to keep his distance, to focus on work. Kitayama in turn would wait until Fujigaya’s defenses were wearing thin and then back him into a corner, sometimes literally.
“This is really not okay,” Fujigaya hissed at her, his back pressed the cold glass of the practice room’s mirror. They were the last two left in the room; the others had left already but hadn’t gotten far, and Fujigaya could hear the murmur of Senga and Yara’s voices on the other side of the door.
“Shhh,” Kitayama urged, lips dragging down Fujigaya’s throat. Fujigaya swallowed as much of his groan as he could, his head falling back to thunk against the mirror, baring more of his throat to Kitayama’s mouth. “Unless you want them to come back in here.” Kitayama nipped Fujigaya’s skin, and Fujigaya’s hips snapped up against the deliberate roll of Kitayama’s. She chuckled, low and full of heat. “Mm, would you like an audience, Tai-chan? It’s not usually my thing, but if you’re so into it...”
Fujigaya couldn’t do anything but cling desperately as Kitayama worked a hand into his practice sweats and stroked him off, murmuring in his ear the entire time how good he looked, totally worth watching, how she wouldn’t mind if he turned them around and took her from behind, so they could both watch in the mirrors. It was all Fujigaya could do not to moan loud enough to bring everybody running as he spilled over Kitayama’s hand and then slumped against the mirror, shaking and unable to catch his breath.
“Next time,” she promised, wrapping fingers tight around Fujigaya’s wrist and pushing his hand down into her own sweatpants, rocking against him as soon as his fingers were within reach.
It turned into a vicious cycle; Fujigaya struggling to keep control of himself only made Kitayama try harder to wear him down, and Kitayama’s open rebellion against Fujigaya’s rules about work and touching and sex with bandmates only made Fujigaya more determined not to give in, to outlast her.
But it couldn’t last, the struggle of it absorbing all of both of their attention and leaving room for next to nothing else. Distraction was exactly the reason Fujigaya was trying to avoid Kitayama in the first place, focus on their upcoming concerts all but impossible when Kitayama was squirming against him or underneath him, hot and willing and sweet-voiced, coaxing him to lose himself in her.
In the end, surprisingly, it was Kitayama who finally put a stop to it. She came into Fujigaya’s room while he was working, and Fujigaya’s shoulders hunched a little as if expecting to be pounced at any second, even as a little arousal warmed his skin out of habit. Kitayama didn’t make any move to touch him this time, though, only came across the room and sat on the end of his bed.
“I can’t do this anymore,” she said, voice tired. Fujigaya put down his pencil and turned in his chair to face her. Kitayama looked tired as well, shoulders lacking their usual confident set, the beginnings of dark smudges under her eyes. “Chasing after you. It’s exhausting.”
“You can’t do this anymore?” Fujigaya asked, irritation sparking in his chest. “Then quit it! I’ve been saying we shouldn’t be doing this the entire time! What the fuck?”
“No,” Kitayama corrected, “that part’s not the problem. It’s the way I have to keep winning you over, and over and over, from scratch every single time. Who can keep doing that? Anybody else would have quit ages ago.”
“Then stop doing it,” Fujigaya growled. Kitayama was looking at him evenly, and the calmer she seemed the more it made him want to fight properly, to get her angry too. “Who’s even asking you to do that! Everything would be find if you’d just--”
“It’s not fine,” Kitayama interrupted, twisting her fingers in Fujigaya’s bedspread a little. “I’m not like you, I can’t lie to myself all the time. I can’t just accept the way I feel and not do anything about it. I like you, I might even love you, but mostly I just want you. I can’t stand right next to you, so close, and feel like this and not do something about it.”
For several breaths, an awkward silence hung between them. Fujigaya’s breath had caught at the off the cuff confession, and he felt like he still couldn’t catch it, couldn’t draw enough air into his lungs to process any of this.
“So?” he finally asked. “What then?”
“I can’t stay here, like this,” Kitayama said. Her direct gaze was making Fujigaya uncomfortable, but he couldn’t pull his eyes away either. “In this house. In Sunshine.”
“What?” Stunned, Fujigaya felt like he’d just been slapped across the face. Maybe that would have been preferable to this, honestly.
“It would be different if you told me you wouldn’t, and you meant it,” Kitayama went on. “But you don’t mean it. You’ll keep letting me force you into it. Sooner or later you’re going to start hating me for it, you know. I’m surprised you don’t already, even a little.”
“It isn’t like that,” Fujigaya muttered, very uncomfortable at how close to the mark that was.
“But it will be.” Kitayama reached over to put a hand over one of Fujigaya’s where they were fisted in his lap, squeezing his hand a little with her warm fingers. “I don’t know why you think you have to choose between me and Sunshine, but I can’t seem to prove otherwise to you. I don’t know how else to get through to you. If you won’t change your mind, it’s best if I go.”
“Go where?” Fujigaya wanted to know.
“Home, for now.” Kitayama pulled her hand back. “You should stop me.”
“How am I supposed to stop you doing anything?!” Fujigaya demanded, trying to shove down the panic that was closing up his chest, sticking in his throat. He threw her own words back at her. “This isn’t a missile launch, isn’t that what you said?”
“You could tell me to stay, and mean it.” Kitayama was watching Fujigaya’s face intently, her eyes pleading, but the rest of her expression said she already knew what his answer would be. “Tell me to stay.”
“What does it even matter, if you’ve already decided?” Fujigaya said, not feeling even a little like playing along. “Since when do you do anything I ask you to?”
Kitayama didn’t argue. She simply kept looking at him with that same flat look, and Fujigaya stared back stubbornly. Finally she nodded once, like she hadn’t expected anything else, and stood up.
“If you change your mind, I’m sure you can figure out where to find me.” Kitayama brushed Fujigaya’s hair back with her fingers and leaned down to press lips against his forehead.
Long after she had quietly shut the door behind her, Fujigaya could still feel the press of her lips against his skin, no matter how often he reached up to rub at it, no matter how hard he pressed.
The next morning, Kitayama was standing in the living room with her duffle bag over her shoulder, trying to peel Senga off gently.
“It’s only a few days,” she said, the excuse she had given him and Tamamori that she was going home to help her mother out with some things. Senga wasn’t fooled so easily, though, giving Fujigaya a pleading look over Kitayama’s shoulder as he hugged her goodbye.
Fujigaya looked away, scowling. Even Tamamori seemed to have figured out something was going on, glancing back and forth between the other members nervously.
“What did you do?” Tamamori asked.
“Nothing,” Fujigaya said, voice flat. Tamamori snorted softly, disbelieving.
“Well, do something then!” Senga protested as Kitayama finally managed to push him back to arms’ length. “Tell her not to go!”
“She’s an adult, Kento. If she wants to stay, she’ll stay.”
“But you haven’t asked,” Senga insisted, and Fujigaya thought that it was no wonder he got along so well with Kitayama.
“Leave it,” Kitayama asked, squeezing Senga’s shoulder. “I’ll see you at practice this afternoon. I’m coming in to talk to Yokoo-san anyway.”
She was no sooner out the door than Senga and Tamamori exchanged one look before both rounding on Fujigaya.
“Tell us what you did,” Senga ordered, putting his hands on his hips. “Is Hiro quitting? Are you fighting? Just make up, before she does something crazy!”
“She can’t quit, we’re in the middle of a tour!” Tamamori said, looking alarmed. He pointed accusingly at Fujigaya. “You! Why can’t you just be normal about girls!”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Fujigaya cut them off, choosing to ignore Tamamori of all people getting on case for having normal girl relationships. “It’s between the two of us.”
“But,” Senga pressed, “if you just--”
“Why is it always me everybody assumes is the problem!” Fujigaya snapped, at the end of all his patience. “She’s been here like ten minutes and you’ve known me for four years! Why don’t you ever take my side!” It wasn’t a hurt that he’d meant to blurt out like that, but he didn’t take it back, even when Tamamori shifted uncomfortably and Senga’s big brown eyes filled up with guilt.
“It’s not like that, Taipi,” Senga said quietly. “We aren’t taking sides. We just want you to be happy.”
“Well, I’m not happy,” Fujigaya said bluntly. “And I don’t know how to make everybody else happy either, you or him or her or anybody. This is the best I can do.”
He turned without waiting for a response and went to go hide in his room until they had to leave for practice. He flopped onto his back on his bed and stared at the ceiling until eventually Yokoo came to knock firmly on his door and ask if he was done having his meltdown yet.
“She’s quitting, you know,” Yokoo said when Fujigaya did open the door, keeping his eyes mostly on the carpet. “She’ll finish the tour, and then she wants to be phased out.”
“Have you told the president yet?” Fujigaya asked dully.
“No, because I’m hoping you’ll come to your senses, since I can only assume this is some new crazyness between the two of you.” Yokoo sighed through his nose when Fujigaya didn’t even argue. “Is being happy really such a challenge for you? And don’t try to tell me you weren’t, in between the parts where you were actively trying to close yourself off to that.”
“Watta,” Fujigaya said, dragging his eyes up to Yokoo’s face, willing to admit to an old friend things he couldn’t to Tamamori or even Senga, “I just don’t have enough space inside of me for all of this. She makes it so I can’t see anything else, can’t feel anything else. I can’t be like this, and still be Sunshine’s Leader. I don’t even deserve to be in Sunshine right now.”
“Taisuke,” Yokoo sighed, shaking his head, but Fujigaya told him quietly that he just didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and they were already late to practice.
The next few days were bland for Fujigaya, vague and indistinct as they ran one into the next like one long blur. He went to work, practiced with the others, and sat through concert planning meetings, but it all felt the same as everything else did. True to her word, Kitayama did come to practice, but she stopped approaching Fujigaya directly about anything, letting him come to her if he had something to say, and in turn Fujigaya did his best to pretend he barely knew she was there.
Senga and Tamamori did their best to keep everything from being impossibly tense; unfortunately Tamamori was a terrible go-between, and Senga’s forced cheer was almost as awkward as the original problem. At first everyone else tried to stay out of Fujigaya’s way, presumably worried about catching him when he temper was at its worst, but honestly Fujigaya didn’t even feel angry. He felt blank, unsure what to do with himself, and unfocused. When it became clear that he wasn’t going to blow up over things, even things that would have set him off before any of this happened, the other staff and crew simply began to work around him, all but ignoring him as they went about their business.
Fujigaya felt like he was moving in slow motion and everything else was still going at normal speed, moving on without him.
“Man, what is up with you?” Kawai asked when he dragged Fujigaya along on one of Crazy Accel’s late-night group dates, even his group’s usual insanity failing to get much more out of Fujigaya than a strained smile. “I’ve never seen you like this over a woman. Is this the first time you’ve ever been dumped?”
“I...guess it is,” Fujigaya said, realizing Kawai was right. He’d ended plenty of relationships himself, or purposely caused them to end even if he hadn’t been the initiator of the breakup. He wondered if any of the few girls who had managed to last more than a few dates had felt like this, and found himself feeling strangely sympathetic towards them. “It sucks.”
“It does!” Kawai agreed, and even though Fujigaya knew he was trying to be sympathetic, he mostly looked relieved and a little proud, as if Fujigaya was a little brother who had finally joined the world of men. “Ah, it’s better to have loved and lost, right? You know what helps? Booze, lots of booze.”
Before Fujigaya could protest, Kawai had hopped out of his chair and strode off in the direction of the bar with purpose, leaving Fujigaya sitting awkwardly with the rest of Accel. Tsukada offered Fujigaya a sympathetic smile, but his attention was mostly absorbed by the winding story Hashimoto was telling him and Goseki from her seat between them, commanding their attention with practiced ease.
Totsuka was directly across from Fujigaya, though, eyeing him thoughtfully. Fujigaya felt like he ought to say something, but wasn’t sure what else there was to say besides “Sorry for stealing your girlfriend; maybe she would have been better off with you in the first place.” Totsuka came to the rescue and broke the silence by speaking first.
“I feel a lot better now,” was his comment.
Fujigaya blinked, no idea where to go with that. “Oh...yeah?”
“Seeing that Hiromi was so important to you,” Totsuka continued, shrugging, “it makes it a lot easier to swallow that I couldn’t measure up. But I do have to ask, could you not be so careless with the things people give you? It only makes them want to take them back.”
“She’s not a thing,” Fujigaya said, finding it harder and harder to use Kitayama’s name out loud over the last few days. “And it’s not like I lost her, I didn’t leave her on the train or something.” Totsuka started laughing, making Fujigaya raise an eyebrow.
“Sorry, it’s just,” Totsuka’s smile was weird, just like the rest of him, “wouldn’t she look so cute in the lost and found? Waiting patiently in the box and wearing mis-matched sweaters and hats that all got left behind.”
Kawai returned just then, rescuing Fujigaya from trying to continue that conversation, and Fujigaya gladly drank whatever it was that he’d brought back, entirely happy to occupy himself with alcohol and not have to talk so much unless he was ordering a refill. Eventually he’d drunk enough that he wasn’t even bothered by Hashimoto braiding his hair, slapping Goseki’s hand away when Goseki tried to get involved just to twirl bits of Fujigaya’s hair around his fingers.
“There,” she declared, sticking the pink umbrella from Fujigaya’s drink into the side for decoration. “All done.”
“Okay,” Fujigaya agreed, the room spinning a little when Hashimoto put her hands on either side of Fujigaya’s face and turned it this way and that, admiring her handiwork. Suddenly, Hashimoto’s grip on Fujigaya’s face tightened, making Fujigaya squeak as he was forced to meet Hashimoto’s gaze directly. “Eh?”
“It would be best if you made up with Hiro-chan,” Hashimoto informed him, but the steel of her gaze made Fujigaya feel like she wasn’t so much interested in Fujigaya’s well-being. Hashimoto smiled sweetly, but it was sort of terrifying. “Because Tottsu’s busy with us, got it? So she should keep herself busy too.”
Hashimoto nodded Fujigaya’s head for him and then released him. Ten seconds later she was giggling at something Tsukada was saying and sidling closer to Goseki, and Fujigaya turned to drop his head in Kawai’s lap rather than deal with any more of Accel’s advice.
The next morning was the day before their Yokohama shows started, and the glory of playing so close to home was that Fujigaya could sleep off his Accel-induced hangover, pulling his covers over his head and ignoring the rest of the world for the whole morning.
Or at least, that was the plan. In reality he was rudely awakened by someone yanking all his blankets off.
“Whaaaat?” Fujigaya whined piteously, head pounding. Squinting, he saw Senga and Tamamori looming over him, both wearing determined expressions. “Oh god, go away.”
“Get up,” Senga ordered. “Now.”
“Shower!” Tamamori added. “Because ew. What were you even doing with Kawai last night? If I were bed-san, I’d demand an apology.”
Fujigaya whined harder, but they both grabbed an arm and hauled him out of bed. He dragged his feet the entire way as they shoved him into his bathroom, and Tamamori held onto his shoulders to keep him from escaping while Senga leaned in to start the water warming up.
“Now are you gonna strip?” Senga asked, crossing his arms and eyeing Fujigaya, all business. “Or are we gonna do it for you? You won’t enjoy that as much as usual, I promise.”
“You know there’s an umbrella in your hair, right?” Tamamori asked, getting a better look at Fujigaya’s sleep-mussed updo, strands falling out all over the place. “It’s pink.”
“I’ll do it, I’ll do it, just get the fuck out,” Fujigaya finally snapped, shoving at them until he was mercifully alone.
“You aren’t getting any coffee until you come out here clean!” Senga called through the door.
“And with pants on!” Tamamori added.
Eventually Fujigaya did emerge, headache down to a dull pounding from the hot water. Senga and Tamamori were waiting for him, sitting on his bed, apparently not trusting him to do anything other than crawl back into it if they weren’t there to supervise. Fujigaya gave them a glare and tugged on the first pair of jeans he could lay his hands on, along with a shirt that he’d thrown over his chair a few days ago. “There, satisfied?”
“Sure,” Senga said, hopping up and reaching for Fujigaya’s wrist. “Come on.”
When Senga and Tamamori dragged him out to the living room, Fujigaya found not just Yokoo, but also Nikaido and Miyata waiting for them.
“Seriously, what the hell is this?” Fujigaya asked, not at all awake enough for this.
“It’s an intervention,” Yokoo informed him. “Now sit down and shut up.”
Fujigaya flopped down in the middle of the white couch and folded his arms, looking up at all of them grumpily. “Well?”
“Tsuka-chan called,” Miyata explained, hands fisted in the pockets of his staff tour hoodie and looking uncomfortable but determined. “He said we let things go way too far.”
“When Tsuka-chan starts making sense, that’s how you know the trip has gone bad,” Nikaido snorted.
“So I asked Miyata to prepare a very special director’s cut of the footage from the recent shows,” Yokoo explained, holding up the remote to Sunshine’s flatscreen television. “Let’s watch, shall we?”
He thumbed the remote and the DVD player whirred softly as the DVD spun up. The title screen came up, one of Sunshine’s album cover shots with the subtitle, “Tour Making of Special Collection, Fujigaya Taisuke Version.”
“You dweeb,” Tamamori accused, nudging Miyata with his elbow, but he didn’t move away when Miyata only leaned his cheek against Tamamori’s shoulder. “Is there a Tama Version?”
“Of course there is,” Miyata chuckled.
“Focus!” Yokoo ordered, making them quiet down.
The DVD began to play bits and pieces of the off-shot footage from their concerts so far, but only the pieces where Fujigaya was talking or featured directly. Fujigaya felt like he was watching a version of himself from another universe, laughing and running around like an idiot across the catwalks during the Sapporo shows, stage-high and silly as he shoved and pushed at the other members on the way by.
Backstage at Nagoya, Senga was holding the camera and forcing Tamamori to do a fake interview first thing in the morning, which was hilarious if not so much on point. Fujigaya didn’t realize why they were watching that particular scene until Senga panned the camera slightly right, and focused over Tamamori’s shoulder where Fujigaya and Kitayama were both dozing on the couch. Kitayama was stretched out along the length of it, head in Fujigaya’s lap, and Fujigaya’s magazine had fallen on her face when he dropped off himself, his head having fallen back against the back of the couch. One of them was snoring cutely.
“So cute, aww, Leader time,” Senga cooed on the tape, and there was an explosion of giggles from him and Tamamori, until Fujigaya stirred and told them to shut the hell up, peeling the magazine off of Kitayama’s face to throw at them. Kitayama didn’t stir during the whole clip, other than her deep, steady breathing.
In Niigata, they were trying to practice one of the new songs, but in the center of the stage Kitayama’s expression was completely serious while she sang alternate, obscene lyrics. Every time Fujigaya’s voice cracked with a snicker, she would give him a stern look as if she didn’t understand why he wasn’t practicing seriously, until Fujigaya was laughing hard enough that he gave up playing entirely and was nearly doubled over. He had purposely moved away from the mic so it wouldn’t pick up his obnoxious laugh, but you could tell just from how hard his shoulders were shaking that he was nearly crying from it.
At Sendai, Tamamori was filming the venue itself during first stage rehearsal, panning over the empty seats and pausing to zoom when Miyata noticed and waved wildly from the back. When he kept on panning the whole way around, he caught Fujigaya in frame and paused there to focus. Fujigaya didn’t notice, leaning on the edge of the stage and totally absorbed in watching Kitayama practice her dance break with Senga.
“I don’t want to watch any more,” Fujigaya announced, shifting uncomfortably at the expression on his own face caught on film, single-minded and adoring, not noticing that Tamamori was calling his name until the third try. Fujigaya on the tape turned and startled when he realized he was being filmed, pulling a few faces and then doing a silly body roll for the camera until he motioned for Tamamori to come over and switch the camera over to him.
“We’ve only watched the first part of this presentation, though,” Yokoo informed him. “That was the before footage. Here’s the after.” He pointed the remote at the television and clicked forward.
The Fujigaya who appeared on the television after that was an entirely different person. Even on the grainy footage which was obviously from someone’s phone, he looked distracted during meetings and lost as he let Nikaido push different pieces of costume onto him and then pull them off again. The worst was the footage of him doing a run-through of his solo from the tour during stage rehearsal just yesterday, bad enough that Fujigaya had to fight to keep from cringing.
There wasn’t anything technically wrong with it; Fujigaya wasn’t late or flat, his voice winding through the notes the same way they always did. But that almost made it worse, only serving to highlight how flat and lifeless the song sounded, how little fire it had. Fujigaya’s heart clearly wasn’t in it, and it showed in every note and every chord.
Yokoo paused the DVD and looked down at Fujigaya, along with everyone else. “Anything to say?”
“Can we talk about how you people have all been filming me with your phones like complete stalkers for days?” Fujigaya asked, just to stall.
“It’s bad, okay?” Fujigaya had to look away, slumping against the couch. “I know it’s bad.”
“Do you know what you’re going to do about it?” Yokoo asked, tone pointed.
Fujigaya snuck a glance up at his stern expression, to Senga and Tamamori’s obvious worry, to Nikaido who looked like she was going to break his legs for his own good and Miyata who was still anxiously knuckling the inside of his hoodie pockets. “No, but it seems like you all have a solution you’re just dying to tell me.”
“God, could you stop being such a selfish dick for three seconds?” Nikaido exploded, making Miyata and Tamamori both jump. “What is even your problem?”
“Selfish?!” Fujigaya spluttered, hands balling into fists. “I’ve put all my energy and attention into Sunshine all this time, don’t you dare call me selfish! It’s all fun and cutesy fan-service on stage, but what’s the plan for when I’m so distracted that I can’t write our next release? When I make fools of us on some stupid television appearance? This whole thing is because I keep trying to put Sunshine first!”
“We know, but,” Tamamori spoke up, drawing Fujigaya up short a second because Tamamori hadn’t stood up to him while he was yelling even once in all the time they’d been together, “the thing is, Sunshine looked so much better while Hiro was here. And now that she’s not...I don’t want to show this kind of face to our fans.”
“Because you’re terrified of them, we know.” Fujigaya rolled his eyes.
“Because it’s embarrassing when I know what we could do and then look at what we are doing,” Tamamori corrected. “I should know, I’m embarrassing enough. So you can stop helping.”
“Why don’t you understand what I’m telling you?” Fujigaya said, thoroughly exasperated. “I want her here too, okay? I miss her too!”
“Say her name,” Senga ordered. “You haven’t said it once since she left, just say it, already!”
Fujigaya drew in a slow breath, trying to hold on to his temper. “I miss Kitayama too. More than you can imagine, but when she’s here...she takes up all the space there is inside me.” Fujigaya let his eyes closed, so tired of fighting and explaining and trying to be reasonable. “There’s no space left for anything else.”
“That’s love, idiot,” Nikaido informed him. She whacked Senga in the shoulder. “I thought you said you explained it!”
“I did all the complicated ones!” Senga protested. “Who needs love explained to them?!”
“Taipi,” Tamamori, Miyata, and Nikaido all answered in unison. Fujigaya opened his eyes to glare at them balefully, then looked at Yokoo instead, the only halfway reasonable person present.
“How am I supposed to hold all of that and all of you inside me all at once?” Fujigaya asked. “How does anybody do that?”
“They grow,” Yokoo said simply. “Until all the things they love fit inside them.”
“Don’t you remember growth spurts?” Senga asked. “They hurt, and it feels like everything is the end of the world. But you wouldn’t want to stay little forever, right? Even this guy turned out all right.” He jerked a thumb towards Tamamori.
“Hey!” Tamamori said.
“And he was a bigger cry baby than even you are,” Senga continued.
“So, in conclusion,” Yokoo interrupted before they got violent, bringing the focus back to Fujigaya, “would you please go pick up your other main vocalist and bring her back home where she belongs? It isn’t like you can play the new guitar parts yourself anyway.”
“Even if I wanted to,” Fujigaya stared at the ground, “I don’t know what to say to her.”
“She already told you, stupid,” Senga reminded. “Weren’t you listening? She told you tell her to stay.”
“You should have just done it in the first place!” Tamamori exclaimed. “You should have run outside and chased her bus down!”
“This isn’t a Korean drama,” Fujigaya said, fighting back against the tiny smile that was tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Also she has a car.”
“Fortunately, so do you,” Yokoo stepped in, reaching down to stick a sticky note right to Fujigaya’s forehead. “That’s the address of Kitayama’s mother’s apartment. So get going already, and don’t bother coming back unless you have the rest of your band with you.” He eyed Fujigaya as Fujigaya opened his mouth to protest. “Or I’ll send Yuta to pick you up.”
“Okay, geez,” Fujigaya relented. “There’s no need to threaten serious shit like that.”
A half an hour later, Fujigaya was dithering in front of the Kitayama’s apartment door, wondering if maybe being killed by Tamamori’s driving wouldn’t have been quicker and less terrifying than facing Kitayama’s mother. You’re being ridiculous, he told himself, and reached up to push the bell. For about a minute he stood there hoping that they wouldn’t be home, before the door swung open.
“Oh god,” Fujigaya’s mouth said out loud without any permission from his brain, “there are two of you.”
Kitayama-san, who was more or less a carbon copy of Hiromi give or take some laugh lines and a woman’s haircut, eyed Fujigaya with a look he had seen on Kitayama’s face about a thousand times since she had joined Sunshine. “So you’re the one, huh? I’ve certainly heard enough about you lately.”
“Er,” Fujigaya said, Tamamori’s driving looking better and better.
Kitayama-san’s gaze got narrower, like she was trying to see through Fujigaya’s skull and into his brain. “Are you going to finally tell me what is going on? Did you knock my daughter up?”
“MOM!” Kitayama shouted from behind her mother, just as all the blood drained from Fujigaya’s face. Kitayama tugged her mother back out of the doorway so that she could see Fujigaya. “I’m not pregnant, god. Look what you did to him! Don’t faint in my hallway, the neighbors will talk.”
“I’m not going to faint!” Fujigaya bluffed, trying to take deep, slow breaths without looking at all like he was doing that.
“Hmph.” Kitayama looked Fujigaya over, like she wasn’t convinced. “Well, come in. We can talk in my room. And don’t you dare try and eavesdrop either,” Kitayama warned her mother. “I’m twenty-six, not sixteen.”
“Wouldn’t know it from all the drama around here,” Kitayama-san said, arms crossed. Kitayama rolled her eyes and shooed her mother back to the living room and her television.
Kitayama tugged Fujigaya past her mother and down the hallway. Once they were in her room, Kitayama pushed the door firmly shut behind her and waved Fujigaya to sit down. “What?” she asked when Fujigaya looked around with open curiosity.
“Your room isn’t what I was picturing,” Fujigaya said, looking from the Mia Ham poster to the pile of shounen manga stacked precariously high on the edge of the desk. He leaned in to examine a certificate tacked to the wall. “You’re an 8dan in calligraphy?”
“You bet your sweet ass I am,” she said proudly. “I can write the shit out of more kanji than you can probably read.” Kitayama paused. “You know, that’s a much bigger claim when I’m not talking to somebody from Domoto’s.”
“You’re from Domoto’s, jerk,” Fujigaya retorted. He sat down on her bed, which wasn’t made and looked like she’d been basically nesting there since she’d come home. He waved a hand at the messy pile of blankets. “Catching up on your sleep?”
“Since there’s nobody to keep me up all night.” Kitayama shrugged, sitting down beside Fujigaya, but far enough away that there was no way to touch accidentally. “Speaking of that...”
Fujigaya fidgeted, not very excited about trying to start the serious conversation. “They had an intervention for me this morning.”
“Drugs would explain a lot,” Kitayama said evenly. “Especially about your solo costume.”
“About you, thank you.” Fujigaya gave her a withering look. “They had a multimedia presentation done by Miyata, it was all very professional. Also I’m pretty sure if I sent you but didn’t come back myself, they’d be okay with that.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Kitayama said, but a small smile did creep onto her face.
“It’s not.” Fujigaya was finding it harder and harder to keep looking at Kitayama directly, but he forced himself to keep his gaze up. “Please don’t leave. We need you. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t find another fourth member who fits as well as you do.”
“I know,” Kitayama said, expression sympathetic. “But that isn’t the problem. It doesn’t change anything.”
“I know that I said I had to choose Sunshine over you,” Fujigaya went on, groping for the right words, “but you are Sunshine. It’s only been a few months and I can hardly remember anymore what we did without you. I feel overwhelmed all the time and totally out of control when I’m near you, and I hate it, but without you...it feels like there’s nothing worth getting out of control over anymore. Kento says love is supposed to feel like that.”
“That’s only because he’s in love with Nika, of course he’s never in control,” Kitayama pointed out. She slid a little closer, until their shoulders touched. “So? You love me?”
“I don’t know. It hurts.” Fujigaya gave up and dropped his gaze to his hands. His cheeks felt hot and his hands were clammy. “I want you, and I want to strangle you, and I don’t know what to do with myself without you. I don’t know what I’ll do if you leave and I can’t ever be next to you again. I guess that’s why drama characters chase all those buses.”
“You do,” Kitayama said, voice quiet and awed. “I didn’t think you’d ever figure it out.”
Fujigaya snorted. “Ken-chan-sensei strikes again.” Kitayama covered one of Fujigaya’s hands with her own, lacing their fingers together. “You too? You said...”
“I don’t know,” Kitayama admitted. “But for sure I want you. Seems like a good place to start.”
“So you’ll come home?” Fujigaya asked, heart tripping over itself from nerves. When he looked up, Kitayama was watching him with dark eyes.
“You haven’t said it yet,” Kitayama said. “The most important thing. You could have just said it the first time, and saved us all this trouble.”
“Stay,” Fujigaya said, squeezing Kitayama’s hand like he was afraid she would slip away if he didn’t cling so tightly. “I don’t want you to go.”
“Mm.” Kitayama nodded, examining his face carefully. “Have I mentioned how much I like that you can’t lie worth a damn? Don’t ever change that.”
Before Fujigaya could respond, Kitayama leaned in and pressed her mouth firmly over top of his. Dizzy with relief, Fujigaya let go of Kitayama’s hand to wrap arms around her waist and drag her as close as possible. Kitayama wrapped arms around Fujigaya’s neck and worked her hand up into his hair, her mouth opening under his. She tugged his hair a little harder, making Fujigaya groan into her mouth.
Things were just getting serious when Kitayama’s mother threw the door open on the flimsy excuse of offering them tea, nearly giving Fujigaya a heart attack.
“See?” Kitayama-san demanded. “This is exactly like when you were sixteen!”
“It’s not anything like that! For one thing, I keep telling you, he’s a guy!” Kitayama insisted. “He’s in a boyband, for fuck’s sake!”
“Well, they let you in, didn’t they?” Kitayama-san pointed out, and Fujigaya rolled over and tried to smother himself with one of Kitayama’s pillows.
The Yokohama shows rushed by in a blur. The shows always seemed more intense closer to home, the lights brighter and the music louder, the fans more enthusiastic. Filming for the DVD was the last day of the venue as well, and that always added an extra layer of pressure and adrenaline.
“There’s a ton of guys out there, huh?” Senga said, grinning in amazement as they came out under the stage to strip off their costumes after the last encore of the first show. “Thanks to Hiro-chan~.”
“Mm, you’re welcome,” Kitayama said smugly, then turned to elbow Tamamori. “But I hear there’s a certain kind of male fan that likes Tama-chan an awful lot.”
“It’s not funny!” Tamamori wailed, totally touchy still about their news that had been revealed to them during the MCs yesterday as a surprise. It turned out President Domoto had finally gotten a drama offer that he thought would work out a little better for Tamamori.
It was a BL drama, and Tamamori was romantic lead.
“Shush, you’ll love it,” Nikaido said, all business as she made sure they hung up all their costume pieces properly and re-ordered them for the second show. “You won’t even hardly have to act. Kenpi, those aren’t even your pants! Put those down!”
Fujigaya just shook his head over by his own costume rack, the farthest one on the end. His costumes were all a mess because he had the smallest costume turnaround out of any of them, and so it always took him the longest to sort it back out and reset to zero. He was just finishing when Miyata popped up, out of breath from having to go down all the stairs the long way around the fangirls (and boys, now, apparently).
“Still making weird noises?” he asked, and Fujigaya nodded, handing over his earpiece. It had been acting up during the second half of the concert, badly enough that Fujigaya had pulled it out for a few songs and depended on the other members to keep him in time, even though that was risky in a venue this large, large enough to cause significant time delay between them and the speakers. “It must be picking up feedback from somewhere...”
“At least I can trust you,” Nikaido sighed, coming over to check on Fujigaya’s costume rack. She nodded in approval and turned to watch Miyata diddling with the ear pierce. “So how does it feel to be the boyfriend of a soon-to-be-famous BL star?”
Miyata grinned so hard his eyes disappeared. “I get to help him practice.”
“His lines,” Fujigaya finished for him, clicking his tongue.
“Sure, whatever,” Miyata agreed, grin not dimming even a tiny bit.
“You know they’re over there talking about us, right?” Nikaido asked. Fujigaya and Miyata looked over to where Kitayama and Tamamori were in a knot around Senga’s costume rack, obviously gossiping while they tried to sort out Senga’s self-manufactured disaster.
Something Kitayama said made all three of them burst into snickers, and Fujigaya decided it was better not to know.
“Girl time,” Miyata said sagely. He and Fujigaya turned to look at Nikaido at the same time.
“Fuck that,” Nikaido announced. “Girls are fucking crazy.”
“Is it just me or did this conversation suddenly turn uncomfortable?” Fujigaya asked, and then all three of them split up in mutual agreement.
“Hey,” Kitayama said, sidling up just as Fujigaya was hanging up his last costume. Flashing him a sharp grin, she grabbed his wrist and dragged him off, back further into the dark recesses of the scaffolding under the stage. They weren’t hidden exactly, the scaffolding all open metal lattices, but there were enough nooks and crannies that once they were away from the main throughway between the stage and the dressing rooms that no one was likely to stumble over them.
“You can’t be serious,” Fujigaya said as Kitayama shoved him back against one of the supports. She kissed him rather than answer, stretching up on her toes to press as close as she could. Kitayama’s skin was hot and sweat-slick under his hands, thrumming all over from concert adrenaline. She dragged lips down Fujigaya’s throat and Fujigaya let his head tip back. “We only slept like two hours! Are you trying to kill me?”
Kitayama paused long enough to blink up at him innocently. “If you can’t keep up, Tai-chan, we could always ask Kento or Tama to help tire me out. I hear Miyacchi can last ages.”
“Don’t joke about that shit,” Fujigaya growled, digging his fingers into Kitayama’s skin a little tightly. She rubbed against him, all but purring. “Tell me you don’t talk about shit like that with those idiots.”
“What do you think girl time is for?” Kitayama winked. She laughed outright when Fujigaya’s face screwed up into a sour expression. “Relax, Taisuke, it’s a joke. One of you at a time is more than enough for me. Now hurry up, I’ve been desperate ever since you spend all of your solo stroking your mic stand like you were jerking yourself off.”
“Oh yeah?” Fujigaya slid hands into Kitayama’s back pockets to squeeze her ass, making her wriggle against him in the best possible way. “I won’t even tell you what I’ve been wanting to do to you since you decided your intro dance break would be eight counts of you proving to a whole arena that you know exactly how to ride on top.”
That made Kitayama laugh out loud as she pulled one of Fujigaya’s hands back around to the front. “Actually,” she suggested as she put his palm flat against her belly and started pushing down, “I think you ought to tell me exactly what you want to do to me. Mm, in great detail.”
“Do you?” Fujigaya leaned in to murmur right against Kitayama’s ear, making her shiver and hook an arm around his neck for balance. She was already hot and slick when he worked his hand low enough to push fingers inside of her, waiting for him. “I had no idea you were that kind of girl.”
“Yeah, well,” Kitayama’s breath hitched as she started moving with him, pushing against his touch, and when she shook her hair out of her eyes, the smile she gave him was all heat and want, “stick around a while, Tai-chan, and I’ll show you exactly what kind of girl I am.”
“I’d rather figure it out myself, actually,” Fujigaya told her, capturing her mouth again before she revealed all her secrets, and not letting go until she went entirely to pieces against him.